We've Moved!

We've Moved!
(This is NOT spam. You can click to go to our site, or just enter www.TugboatYarning.com in your web browser. See you soon!)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

De-Tech & De-Tox

Do you ever think in social media?  Oh, I could write a Facebook status about this... I should take a photo for Instagram! ... I could write this story on the blog... 

Now, don't get me wrong: You're obviously reading this blog, and I am obviously writing this blog, so I'm not trying to storm the castle of social media with torches and pitchforks.  Technology is an amazing thing - we can learn about the lives of the people we know (or don't know, for that matter), tell the world how we're feeling, what we're doing, how we're doing it... etc.  Social media is a way of making our global space feel a lot more like a small community.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm needing a bit of De-Teching in my life.  Why, you ask?  Because my smart phone seems to be another organ that helps me function each day, and my eyes could use a good break from staring at something that glows.

I also worry that this is what Quincy thinks his Mommy looks like:

Smartphone Face

It sure gives a new meaning to The Son of Man painting, don't you think?  (Hint: I'm making a very poorly formulated apple joke...)  Well, because we want our son to know what our faces look like, and what our laughter sounds like, and for him to learn from us in every way, I've decided I need to do a little detox session with technology, by de-teching my life a bit.

No, I won't be flushing my cell phone down the toilet, or torching my computer in the back yard, but I do need to work on distancing myself a bit from the various screens that plague my eyes during the day.  Here is what I'm proposing to myself:

1.  Decreasing (Pointless) Screen Time.  Cutting back on the use of apps like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram during the day should save me some time.  Instead of checking my phone whenever an alert arrives, I will instead check it while Quincy naps, or while grabbing lunch, or in the evening once Quincy is down for the night.  As a former Nine-to-Fiver, I was accustomed to having my phone silenced, my personal email unattainable, and being able to devote my time to the task at hand.  Now, as a Stay-at-home-Mom, my task at hand is loving, caring for, playing with, and teaching my son.  And as someone who grew up before cell phones were around, I knew how to play outside, read books, and entertain myself when the power went out.  Why should it be any different with the raising of my child?

2.  Quality, Not Quantity. Have you ever sat at your computer, paging through blogs, cruising down the Facebook news feed until you've read everyone's updates, or read through countless pages on Pinterest until your eyes have blurred?  I have.  I do a lot.  Now, I'm not saying that these aren't great things - again, here I am writing a blog!  I had a Pinterest Party recently!  You probably found this page through Facebook!  And, of course, I love that you've taken the time to read this.  What I'm trying to say is that screen time should have a purpose.  If I'm just killing time instead of doing something of purpose, then I may need to move on to a more meaningful activity.  When I do sit down to read blogs, pin something on Pinterest, catch up on Facebook, or see the latest images coming through Instagram, I can have concentrated time to review those sites and apps, and then be done with it, and skip the aimless browsing I've become accustomed too.

3.  Replace an evening of TV/movies with music or conversation.  Lately, I've been busying my hands with some crochet and sewing projects.  The great thing about crocheting and knitting is you can also watch a movie or television show.  It's easy to just flip the screen on, busy my hands with yarn or fabric, and zone out.  Instead, I plan to leave the screen off while still enjoying my Yarn Time, but play some good music, chat with my husband, or - even better - do both.

4.  Stop Using the "Just In Case" Excuse.  I bring my phone with me to the kitchen, just in case someone calls. Then, I bring my phone to the bathroom while I shower, just in case I get a text message.  Later, I bring my phone on a walk, just in case I get a response to a post on Facebook.  Will it really be the end of the world if I don't respond right away to a text message?  Or if I get a voicemail instead of answering my phone on the second ring?  Or read every Facebook notification as it arrives?  While using the Just In Case Excuse, I actually continue to set myself up to burn more time haphazardly.

And now a reality check...

I should clarify that this isn't a big protest against technology or social media (like I said, let's put away the pitchforks and torches); I'm sharing, instead, that I struggle with how I spend my time.  Social media was and is a great help to me, especially in the first months after Quincy was born.  I was comforted by friends going through similar situations, I could connect to the outside world even if it was difficult to physically leave the house, and it helped stave off some of the loneliness that can be accompanied to motherhood.

Admittedly, I also watched TONS of TV those first weeks, and I think it was helpful to cope with sleep deprivation, have noise for Quincy to fall asleep to, and to take it easy in recovering from the birth.  I since have limited my own television time to after Quincy is down, but again, this isn't a fight against television.

I use my smartphone for many practical things: checking the weather, making a grocery list, looking up vocabulary in Spanish, counting rows in crochet, taking photos of my ever-growing-baby, connecting with family and friends, and - of course - making phone calls.  It isn't logical to completely reject the use of my smartphone, or email, or internet, but be aware of when it's time well spent, and when it isn't.

At the end of the day, I could really take some cues from my own son.  If Quincy is having a fussy day, I've found going outside seems to appease him (most of the time).  And he doesn't need a shiny screen to entertain him.  What's one of his favorite toys these days?  A container with plastic utensils inside.  Plain.  Simple.  Oldschool fun.

Thank you for reading; I hope this has been social media with purpose and meaning!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ROAR! I've Got a Tie!

I've gotten a HUGE kick out of making these Dinosaur/Dragon Hats, and Tie Onsies!  I'll be mild on the commentary this time, and just stick to the pictures.

Dinosaur Hat!

Round 1 of Tie Onesies
Rehearsal Dinner Tie

Wedding Tie

Round 2 of Tie Onesies
Baptism & Dedication Tie

Fiery Dragon Hat!

The ties are great for formal events for this little dude, while the dragon or dinosaur hat will not only keep you warm, but also defend you from bigger predators (one of my biggest concerns these days).  And speaking of dinosaurs, check out this roaring little guy:

Quincy's Story: Chapter 2 from Brad Haveman-Gould on Vimeo.

Formal Roar!


Monday, August 27, 2012

My First Pinterest Party

Have you heard of Pinterest?  Though its reputation has been heavily promoted by DIY'ers, recipe hunters, and quote enthusiasts, its purpose is to better organize things you like on the World Wide Web.  Think of it as a digital cork board that you can "pin" something found on the internet to review later.

Needless to say, I've spent my share of time browsing Pinterest for ideas and fun things to do, and a friend had come up with the idea of having a party in order to work on some of the ideas found through Pinterest.  I know there are plenty of Pinners out there that have found countless ideas, and this was a way to bring some of those to fruition.  Quite exciting stuff!

I even repurposed a Pinterest logo for the event!  Super corny and ridiculous, right?  That was my aim.

Original Image Courtesy of Google Images,
Added (Dorky) Features Courtesy of Maggie H-G

I invited some of my favorite gals, put Quincy to bed, and we set to work on our various projects... and of course made sure to eat some tasty treats!

Here is what my cool friends made and/or worked on...

Jamie - Crocheted Booties

Megan - Cross Stitch 

Kristin - Birthday Onsie, Hat, and Fingerprint Craft - Balloon Theme!

Nicky - Pennant/Flag Decorations for Baby J.'s Room

Ashley - Treasure Chest to use as a Prize Box for her Students

And, here is what I made... (see if you can guess which photo is my favorite, hehe):

Apple Butter {pin it here}

Lime Sherbet Punch {pin it here}

Homemade Mod Podge, or as I like to call it, Magg Podge,
which notably smells like green salsa (despite washing
the jar with super hot water and tons of soap... hmmmm)
{pin it here}

Phone Charger Caddy {pin it here}

Bandana Apron {pin it here}
(uh, best prop for the photo, right?)

Like the idea of throwing a Pinterest Party?  Feel free to pin it for later use!  

My plea is that you were pleasantly pleased after peeking at this post, and found it most pinteresting!

Party on, Pinners!


*My apologies, though I'm not sure which was worse: the excessive alliteration or the terrible pun.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Landscaping Phase I

Maggie and I are taking advantage of our second summer in our wonderful home address landscaping. A huge *thank you* to the previous owners for giving us an excellent house. We decided to tweak a thing here or there... The majority of the more intense projects were completed by Landscape Designs, and they were great to work with and did an excellent job. Thank you to all our family, friends, and neighbors for physical labor, helpful insight and references, and tolerating the noisy work!
The old front breezeway area was all concrete, and it had settled down to the point where rain water wasn't cooperating, so we decided to do something about it.

Note: this isn't the most flattering picture. I promise it looked better than this before... and now it looks even better!

They weren't messing around

I have never been more terrified and anxious than when they were taking a gigantic saw to attack our concrete. And to think that they managed to make a precise arc with this beast...

Pavers coming together quite nicely
Quincy fulfilling his role as official site supervisor during the paver installation. Quincy gave them an A+
Designing the new planting beds.
Added new planting beds to the west side of the house. Phase II will bring more plants here, and Phase III next summer should bring us a patio in this area off the back of the breezeway.
We transplanted our strawberries from an old brick planter that was trapping water and was in a state of disrepair. We ended up finding a great deal on a half whiskey barrel for our new planter.
This striking planting bed was already here for us, but we placed some mulch in it.

Both downspouts on the east side of the house now go into a drain tile that disperses in the front yard. We are VERY happy with this after this past rainy period.
It was amazing how quickly they took the old concrete out. We had them place rebar within the thicker new concrete to try to battle the tree roots.
It was amazing how quickly they took the old concrete out. We had them place rebar within the thicker new concrete to try to battle the tree roots.

15 minutes later, our driveway is in the road
Again, supervising the work
Quincy keeping the riff-raff from putting handprints in his fresh concrete

Street view of the new driveway without gigantic bumps. The sidewalk and approach will also be replaced in the coming weeks after the permits are obtained.

Also, with the help from family, we cleaned up the shutters and painted them a great "calming depths" blue-green color. I think it makes the house look very sharp!

New driveway interfaces with old, soil graded away from house, mulch placed, downspout into the drain tile, and super-hostas split up into something more manageable.

Maggie and I love the final paver walkway to the breezeway.

Notice how incredible of a job they did cutting the concrete with a smooth arc.

Downspout now drains into a drain tile that disperses in the front yard.

Next phase (this fall) will include getting some greenery in there...


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nine Vegetable Baby Purées: Preparation & Taste Rankings

Recently, I've done a few posts about baby foods - first attempts, do-overs and cereal - and now it's time to recap on some of the purées I've made.  A few people have asked how to prepare them, and how they went over with Quincy, so this may help answer those questions.  As another great resource,  check out Momtastic's Wholesome Baby Food website, which was recommended to me from a friend; it has been a wealth of information to find out what foods are appropriate for which age, and different methods of preparing and storing the foods.

On a side note, for those of you that read about The Promise (La Promesa) I made to Quincy, I've decided to give the names of the foods in English and Spanish.  Hey, who said you couldn't learn some new vocabulary from this blog?!

1. BUTTERNUT SQUASH - La Calabaza Moscada

* Preparation: Wash, Peel, Scoop Seeds/Gunk, Cube, Steam 10-12 minutes, Puree with Water.
* Quincy's Rating: Yu-Yu-Yummmm.
* Note: Warning - may cause Squash Hands

2. PEAS - Los Guisantes

* Preparation: Steam 8-12 minutes, Puree with Water.
* Quincy's Rating: Gross Enough to Gag.
*Note: Frozen peas are WAY easier than fresh unshelled peas!

3. ZUCCHINI - El Calabacín (Verde)

* Preparation: Wash, Peel, Slice, Steam 8-10 minutes, Puree (without Water).
* Quincy's Rating: Eh, They're Alright.
* Note: This is a runny one, especially since you do not add any water when pureeing; great to mix with thicker purées.

4. CARROTS - Las Zanahorias

* Preparation: Wash, Peel, Slice, Steam 10-12 minutes, Puree with Water.
* Quincy's Rating: Gross Enough to Gag.

5. YELLOW SUMMER SQUASH - El Calabacín (Amarillo)

* Preparation: Wash, Peel, Slice, Steam 8-10 minutes, Puree (without Water).
* Quincy's Rating: Eh, They're Alright.
* Note: This is another runny one, especially since you do not add water when pureeing; it's great to mix with a thicker food like sweet potatoes.

6. EGGPLANT - La Berenjena

* Preparation: Wash, Peel, Cube, Steam 8-10 minutes, Puree with Water.
* Quincy's Rating: Great when mixed half-and-half with sweet potato; not so great on its own.

7. PARSNIPS - Las Chirivías

8. TURNIPS - Los Nabos


* Preparation: Wash, Peel, Cube, Bake in Pan with Water, Puree with Water.
* Quincy's Rating: Run Away!! Mommy & Quincy agree - definitely not a tasty food.  It reminded me of a slightly sweeter radish, thanks to the turnips.
* Note: Bake at 375˚ for 30-45 minutes with water covering the cubes 2/3's of the way.

9. SWEET POTATO - La Batata

* Preparation: Rinse, Poke Holes with Fork, Rinse Again (to get water in the holes), Wrap in Foil, Bake 45-60 minutes, Scoop out Guts from Skin, Puree with Water.
* Quincy's Rating: Yu-Yu-Yummmm.
* Note: This can be a thicker purée, so I've used either extra water or a runnier vegetable like zucchini or summer squash to thin it.


What are Squash Hands?  Glad you asked.  You may find, especially with Butternut Squash, that your hands get really dried out when handling it after peeling.  Your skin will feel taught and possibly peel.  You'll know what I mean if you give it a try.

Squash Hands

Clean Up! If you're doing multiple vegetables at a time, be sure to clean your cooking gear in between each vegetable so as not to contaminate your final purée with other veggies.  If your baby ends up having an allergic reaction to one of the vegetables, it'd be horrible to have it accidentally mixed in with another!  That being said, I know I did a mixture of the turnips and parsnips without cooking them separately, but having the mix was intentional - too bad it didn't taste so good!

Cleaning in Between Batches

Storage:  Freezing the food into cubes, and then storing the cubes in freezer bags helps save on space in your freezer.  When you're ready for baby to have another portion, either thaw them in the fridge for a day or defrost them in the microwave (be sure to use a Defrost setting and not cook the food).

White = Parsnip & Turnip Combo
Green = Eggplant
Yellow = Yellow Summer Squash

Freezer Stock-up: Three vegetables (listed above)
waiting to freeze into cubes and other frozen cubes
stored in freezer bags

El Vocabulario: I have to admit that I found looking for the Spanish equivalents for some of the foods a bit puzzling.  By following a friend's advice, I was able to find a lot of the names by first looking up their Latin name, and then looking up the Latin name in Wikipedia en Español.  For the variety of squashes, there seem to be two main words: calabaza and calabacín.  Calabaza seems to be the bigger gourd-like squashes, such as Butternut, whereas calabacín is more typical of slimmer and softer squashes like zucchini.  My best guess for the yellow summer squash and zucchini was to differentiate them by color.  If there are some Spanish-speakers out there that have better words to use, I'm all ears!

Got any other foods you've heard of that are great to purée?  Share below!

¡Buen Provecho!